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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 16, 2012 1:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

The problem is that his ratting system is relevant to only his system . Truthfully , the star system , or the letter grade is a little too limited . The 100 point system ( Clif used it for his E72 overview ) I think is better .
With the latest Dylan album, I made a list of his albums, , and rated them both by #, and by groups , sort of letter grades . The groups I think are secure, but I could easily switch them around within the groups . I put his on my Facebook page . This just show how dificult it is to get your head around these sort of issues, and to be wary of "grades" .

With the release of "Tempest' , I though I would geek out and make a list of, the best Bob Dylan studio albums to the weakest , from one old time fan (me).

1. Highway 61 Revisited 1965
2. Blonde on Blonde 1966
3. Bringing It All Back Home 1965
4. John Wesley harding 1968 ( my favorite )

5. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan 1963
6. Blood on the Tracks 1975
7. Time out of Mind 1997
8. Love and Theft 2001
9. Infidels 1983
10. Oh Mercy 1989
11 Nashville Skyline 1969
12 Another side of Bob Dylan 1964
13 Slow Train Coming 1979

Good to Great
14. New Morning 1970
15. The Times They Are a-Chagin' 1964
16. Desire 1975
17. Street Legal 1978
18 Planet Waves 1974
19 .Shot of Love 1981
20.Tempest 2012

22. Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid 1973
23 World Gone Wrong 1993
24 Empire Burlesque 11985
25. Modern Times 2006
26. Good As I Have Been To You . 1992
27 Bob Dylan 1962
29 Under The Red Sky 1990
30 Self Portrait 1970

OK to weak .
31.Saved 1980
32 Knocked Out Loaded 1986
33.Together Through Life 2009
34. Down In The Groove 1988
35. Dylan 1973
I don' t own Christmas in the Heart ...

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 16, 2012 7:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

While I'd move some of those ratings up & down (I'm much fonder of Dylan's '90s acoustic albums, and some of your 'excellents' I'm not so fond of), the thing with anybody's ratings is that they're relevant only to themselves...
This reviewer's valiant attempts to be 'objective' illustrate that - some of those shows are just not as "average" as he claims, and if we're dividing shows into percentages, I think for most fans, some tours will fall consistently into the above-average to excellent range. (Even if that's statistically improbable...)
Now with me, if I tried grading, admittedly there are some Dead years where I'd be hard-pressed to give any show more than 3 stars (if I was feeling really generous), and other years where I'd be reluctant to give many less than 5. (I'd probably make 4-stars my average baseline, from which shows could be better or worse.) But I couldn't pretend to be objective about it, or to evenly divide the grades into 20% each like he prefers. Even using a consistent rating system for shows 20-25 years apart takes quite a leap of imagination!
But everyone has their own system. Lots of people give out 5 stars just cuz it's the Dead man, or because they had good times there, or because the sound quality's great, or whatnot. Others give shows 1 star because they don't like the tracking, or because a song's missing, or because it's a poor AUD. So any idea of a shared communal ratings system went out the window long ago...
Anyway I'd be intrigued to see this guy review more shows from a single year, to put his ratings in perspective with more comparable shows - & to see what he selects as being really poor shows, or if most years would end up being a mass of C's with a few A's.
(He sometimes says that of the Dead's 2300 shows, only 460 should get 5 stars. Applying that idea to, say, 1972, which 30 or so shows should get 1 or 2 stars - and how would they be equivalent to the 1-star shows from '95?)

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 16, 2012 8:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Posting my quickly put together list , was meant to one way to grapple with the idea of rating . I too could move things around . I like most of his albums, and even on his weakest I find things to like .
I think you are correct in your look at this guys ranking system . It is sort of refreshing to have someone who like the first sets more than the 2nd ones ( not me ...) . I guess I am more generous, if my Dylan list were a star list, I think only "Dylan" ( Columbia' s blackmail record) would get one star !

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Nov 16, 2012 9:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Even his one star record Dylan had the fantastic Ballad of Ira Hayes.No matter how you rate them DD,I have to appreciate someone who respects and understands the entirety of the man's enormous body of work.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 16, 2012 9:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Yeah I like his Ira Hayes . Even in a record put out to punish him for going to Island , there is some good ! I sort of like his "I Can't help Falling in Love With You " Also . On some of these there are better takes . I never though much of "The Lilly of the West" , on here . But when I heard Joan Baez do it, I realized what a great choice it would have been for the Dead . I can see Weir going bug eyes singing this murder ballad, and I can just imagine Garcia tearing into this .;feature=fvwrel

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Nov 17, 2012 10:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

I like some this record in spite of it's sort of throwaway,cheesy feel.Lily of the West minus the horrible backing vocals works for me,I also kind of like Can't Help Falling in Love and Mr. Bojangles.
This record is similar to Self Portrait in that it shows a different side of Bob with his covers of,I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know,Blue Moon and Take Me as I Am,it's shows a vocal side of Bob that is interesting.
Now that you mention it,the boys doing Lily of the West might have been just right,like Peggy-O.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 17, 2012 11:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

I actually LIKE Self Portrait . I think most of the material is good, with a few WTF moments ( the "Dylan Brothers" version of The Boxer ). The material on "Dylan" are out-takes, and rejects from the Self Portrait , and New Morning sessions . But as you note some of these are likable .
Dylan has spun his Self Portrait story for years . He claims it was made to throw everyone off his back, to sort of deliberately piss them off ( it pissed people off, but they still didn't leave him alone ) . But I think he is being a little disingenuous . He really sounds like he cares on most of these songs, in some of them he sings his ass off , I think it didn't go the way he wanted, or lost interest , and the horrible reviews (Rolling Stone's first line of their review "What is this shit ?") made him want to disown it . New Morning came out only a few months later . I think at that time the idea of the great songwriter, doing a cover album seem more odd that it does now .

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 17, 2012 6:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

I'm not a fan of that period, aside from New Morning (and the new recordings on Greatest Hits II). It's hard to say what his intentions were with all those covers...he sure spent a long time in the studio, almost a year on Self Portrait & months on New Morning, trying out different things (very unusual for him, since he's always preferred to knock out albums in a few sessions). I doubt he would spend month after month recording tunes for a sarcastic put-on, even if much of Self Portrait comes off that way. So it's perhaps a record of mixed intentions & unachieved purposes.
It seems to me like he was somewhat paralyzed by indecision & lack of direction at the time, that there was some kind of block. I think it also translates into the lack of confidence in much of his singing at the time, he often sounds very muted. (He also sounds hoarse on a lot of tunes from this period, which is interesting...perhaps intentional?)
It's downright painful to hear some of the outtakes on "Dylan"! Especially compared to similar songs (or sometimes the same songs) he'd done a few years earlier in the Basement Tapes, which were full of joy & purpose & strong singing. And yet, even amidst the dreck he could still pull out something heartfelt like this:
Then he went & massacred the song with a band & Vegas-style backup singers. Go figure!

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 16, 2012 2:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Blood on the Tracks is not essential Dylan!? I would say Freewheelin' is also pretty essential.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 16, 2012 3:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

I wrote a long response, but i lost the page . I take it the Gods want me to shut up ! I love both those albums . This only points out the difficulty of rating systems ! I will note than "excellent" means it is extremely good . However I could have bumped both those album into the "essential" group .

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Poster: BornEasement Date: Nov 16, 2012 7:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Hmmmm. You rated Under The Red Sky higher than I would have, maybe I should revisit it?

Its hard for me to pick among anything in the top two groupings here. How could anything but taste make someone like Blood on the Tracks or Highway 61 more? I would maybe even throw Time Out of Mind into the "essential" grouping, or Love and Theft, just to represent how different he can be.

Your bottom categories are spot on though.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 16, 2012 7:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

I go back and forth on Red Sky . Michael Gray's writing on this made me think it might be better ( a little better, notice it's near the bottom) , There are about half an ok record's worth of songs here .
Looks like my "essential" section is growing ! Note that "Time out of Mind", and "love and Theft" are next down on my list . Those first 13 or so albums on this list are pretty amazing !

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 16, 2012 11:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Time Out Of Mind is certainly one of my essentials. (Less so any of the later albums.) I am startled to see Nashville Skyline up so high! I prefer some of the "good to greats" to some of the "excellents," but I can see why they're there. (I often respond more to the sound of an album, or to a few key tracks, rather than comparing song-for-song with other albums - thus, I'm quite fond of the Pat Garrett album.)

I noticed you didn't include the Basement Tapes! Does that mean it's weaker than weak?
It would be a hard one for me to rate since the "genuine" unreleased Basement Tapes are so much better - in fact they're in my essential category too, even as a bootleg.

Then you could throw in the live albums & compilations too... Some of those would soar near the top of the list, in my case. He didn't release many good live albums before the Bootleg Series days, but Hard Rain I thought was great.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 17, 2012 7:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting New Reviewer

Nashville Skyline is some way a great cover up job . Here we have a less than 30 minute album, with one song being an instrumental , and another being a duet on one of one of his old songs , and lyrics are slight (at the time people though he was deliberately doing this, it wasn't till later albums ,example:Planet Waves, that close scrutiny revealed he wasn't the same . Dylan claims, that sometime in 68 he had a moment where he knew he had lost it . Like the gift had been taken form him . In an interview around the time of Street Legal, he said he was trying to do consciously, what he used to be able to do unconsciously . As producer Bob Johnson said about those mid 60's recordings , "That wasn't him, that was God kicking him in the ass ".
BUT, this is a beloved album for good reason . Much credit must go to the rich twilight sound of this record . Some Dylan' s most loved records are some that have the best "feel", example, Blood On The Tracks . And Dylan's singing is wonderful here listen to him on Peggy Day ( I wish he had a fraction of that ability now ) ! The record feels so good . Thus its position !
I avoided any of the live, "Bootleg series, or archival stuff for simplicity sake !
The unfucked with Basement tapes are a wonder, but still sort of a tangent . They sort of don't fit in with the studio albums, but they are great, beyond question .
Hard Rain was not much liked in its day, but with the exception of that horrible Lay Lady Lay (a song that never seems to work outside the original album, though I like the Everly Brothers version ), is fun, and I like the re-imagining of most of these songs . I like Oh Sister better than the Desire version .
Special mention to the 66 live material, the acoustic sets especially .